Self-Reports of Dietary Behaviors, Physical Activity, and Screen Time

Thursday, April 25, 2013
Exhibit Hall Poster Area 2 (Convention Center)
Jenifer E. Thorn, Nailya DeLellis, Judy Chandler and Korey Boyd, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI

Background/Purpose To determine what children and their parents' perceptions are regarding dietary behaviors, physical activity and screen time relating to childhood obesity.

Method This quantitative study sampled 8-10-year-olds and their parents/guardians to better understand dietary behaviors, amount of physical activity and screen time as major contributors to childhood obesity. The parent/guardian-child pairs completed a modified version of the Center for Disease Control Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) that specifically asked parents' about their child's health behaviors. A similar version of the YRBS was also given to their children to answer questions regarding their personal health behaviors. A dependent t-test was performed to assess the difference in parent-child responses. Independent t-test was performed to assess the gender and age difference in nutritional habits, as well as in amount of screen time and physical activity among children.

Analysis/Results Out of 88 parent-child dyads, there was no single dyad that provided the same answers to all the questions. There is a difference between children's and parent's perception of average food consumption, amount of screen time and physical activity. Fourth graders reported higher number of physical activity days, and females have slightly different food and screen time responses compared to males.

Conclusions Findings indicate a continued need for information about parent and child perceptions of diet behaviors and physical activity. The discrepancies found between parents and their children concerning food choices, juice and soft drinks, screen time and physical activity are all troubling, particularly in a community where obesity risk is high.